Turkey Run Farm in McLean has raised $250,000 in two months, enabling the establishment of an endowment fund that is expected to ensure the future of the living-history farm.
The money, raised in March and April, matches the gift of Loudoun County preservationist Claude Moore and will be used to establish a $500,000 endowment fund.
Since last summer, the farm has been operated by Friends of Turkey Run Farm, a nonprofit group of area residents who took over the farm on a long-term lease from the National Park Service after the Park Service announced it would close the farm-park for economic reasons.
Joseph Harsh, president of the Friends of Turkey Run Farm and head of the George Mason University history department, said income from the endowment and admission fees should cover costs so that the farm can remain open as a living model of how poor rural Americans lived in the 18th century.
An admission charge of $1 for adults and 50 cents for children, set when the farm was reopened in March, will help pay the $90,000-a-year operating budget, which supports five employes and the livestock. The farm is home to a cow, a bull, an ox, a horse, a hog, chickens and turkeys.
The name of the park is to be changed to Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run, in recognition of the donation from the 90-year-old, retired radiologist, Harsh said.
The two-month fund drive brought hundreds of donations, ranging from small gifts from Brownie Troops and children with lemonade stands to grants from corporations, foundations and the counties of Arlington and Fairfax, which gave $10,000 and $25,000, respectively, Harsh said.
"We've been told we did astoundingly well, considering the squishy state of the economy, the fund-raising for Wolf Trap, and that the Washington area is a notoriously barren ground for fund-raising," Harsh said last week.
The operation of the log-cabin homestead will continue much the same, although "there will be lean days ahead until we begin to get income from the endowment," said Harsh.
The park was closed last December to save money, said Harsh, but even so there were 41,000 visitors during the year, 5,000 more than in the previous year. Many of the visitors are students who camp at the farm's environmental living center, a tent ground where they live in the 18th century style with their teachers.